Research claims 99% of hateful tweets by Blue users ignored

Jun 3, 2023, 11:37 AM UTC
4 mins read
Research claims 99% of hateful tweets by Blue users ignored
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A recent study conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has shed light on a concerning issue within Twitter‘s ecosystem. According to the research, Twitter is allegedly failing to take action against 99% of hateful content posted by its Twitter Blue subscribers. The CCDH further claims that Twitter not only allows certain users to violate its rules with impunity but also promotes their content by granting them preferential treatment in conversations and search rankings. As Twitter remains silent on the matter, these findings raise serious questions about the platform’s commitment to combating hate speech and promoting user safety.

Twitter Blue, the premium subscription tier introduced by the social media giant, offers enhanced features and benefits to its subscribers in exchange for an annual fee of up to $96. While this revenue stream is undoubtedly vital for Twitter’s business model, the CCDH’s report suggests that it may be contributing to a disturbing trend. The study indicates that subscribers, who pay a premium, are allegedly able to flout the platform’s rules without consequence, enjoying a level of impunity not afforded to non-subscribers.

Furthermore, the CCDH’s research points out that not only does Twitter fail to address the majority of hateful tweets posted by Twitter Blue users, but it also promotes its content within its ecosystem. By granting these users prioritized rankings in conversations and search results, Twitter inadvertently amplifies their messages, giving hate speech a broader reach and potentially normalizing it among its vast user base.

The CCDH reportedly brought their concerns to Twitter’s attention by reporting 100 tweets containing racist, homophobic, neo-Nazi, antisemitic, and conspiratorial content. Shockingly, after four days, only one of the reported posts had been removed, while the account behind it remained active and unaffected by any consequences. This apparent lack of action and accountability from Twitter undermines the platform’s credibility and raises doubts about its commitment to combating hate speech and fostering a safe online environment.

Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of CCDH, expressed his dismay at the situation, stating, “The Twitter blue tick used to be a sign of authority and authenticity but it is now inextricably linked to the promotion of hate and conspiracism.” This sentiment highlights the alarming transformation of the Twitter blue tick, once a symbol of prestige, into an emblem potentially associated with hate speech and dangerous ideologies.

Coincidentally, on the same day, the CCDH’s research was published, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, resigned from her position. Irwin had assumed this role in November, shortly after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform for a staggering $44 billion. While Irwin has yet to provide any public statement regarding her departure, her resignation adds another layer of intrigue to the situation, leaving room for speculation about potential internal challenges faced by the platform in addressing harmful content.

As Twitter remains silent in the face of the CCDH’s damning findings, questions about the platform’s commitment to user safety and its handling of hate speech continue to mount. With Twitter Blue subscribers allegedly benefitting from preferential treatment and impunity despite violating the platform’s rules, concerns are growing about the efficacy of Twitter’s content moderation efforts.

Social media platforms like Twitter must rise to the occasion as the online landscape grapples with the ongoing battle against hate speech and harmful ideologies. Swift and decisive action is required to rectify the issues highlighted by the CCDH’s research. Failure to do so risks further eroding public trust and raises doubts about Twitter’s ability to create a safe and inclusive digital environment for all of its users.

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